Twiga Foods, founder and CEO Peter Njonjo has quit the firm’s board a month after he resigned as its chief executive. Njonjo’s exit now hands over full control of Twiga Foods to foreign shareholders.
It comes at a time when Twiga Foods, the Kenya B2B agritech startup, has come out of a protracted chain of operational headwinds, ranging from staff layoffs to deferred payments owed to suppliers, as well as delayed salaries for workers, which saw it announce a 40 per cent cut on its headcount last year.
Twiga first made public the exit of Mr Njonjo on December 14 when it announced that its long-serving CEO had taken a six-month leave just after he steered it to close a new round of funding estimated to the tune of $35 million (Sh5.5 billion), adding onto the $160 million (Sh25.1 billion at current exchange rates) cumulative capital raised since inception.
In the announcement, Mr Njonjo said at the request of the board he would stay on for a six-month transition to allow the company time to recruit a substantive CEO.
But in a new development, Mr Njonjo cut short his sabbatical and shook the board with a resignation letter in which he says, after deep reflection, he thinks “there is little value he can add to its current transition”, pointing to a potential fallout at the company.
“At the request of the board after my resignation, I agreed to stay on the Twiga Board and work through a six-month transition that allowed for the recruitment of a new CEO. Currently, the strategic direction and daily operations are now firmly in the hands of Juven and Creadev and there is little value I can add from this point on,” Mr Njonjo says in the resignation letter dated January 4, 2024. “In this regard, I would like to resign as a Director of Twiga Holdings. As a Founder, I will remain a committed shareholder of Twiga.”
The letter is addressed to Mr Hein Pretorius, the Twiga Holdings board chairman, and copied to dozens of Twiga shareholders.
“During this time, there was a lot that we did right in our journey to make an impact on food security and there are also a few things we got wrong, but, during that time, Twiga made a mark, both locally and globally,” he says in the resignation letter.
“It took a while to get everyone on the same page in terms of where the company should head, but I’m glad that the strategy work I led, in close collaboration with the key shareholders and the Boston Consulting Group did lead to a strategy that we all felt recognised what had worked and what had not worked and what we needed to do to build a successful and sustainable business.”